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The Happiness of Pursuit

The Happiness of Pursuit

A sense of adventure and aspiring to new challenges is part of our nature. We love to explore and create, be it climbing a mountain, exploring at the bottom of the ocean, developing the iPhone and new apps that change lives, developing new medicines that save lives, or crafting policies that improve how we live. 

Dear Students,

I like to think I inherited a little of an adventurous spirit from my parents. So, when it came time for me to go off to college, I set my sights on the big city of Chicago and all the adventure I imagined would be included when I attended school there. Coming from a small high school in a small town, I definitely felt like a small fish in a big pond, but I thought I would figure out how to live on my own in a vibrant and diverse culture. Likewise, you find yourself here in Austin, to start your own life's adventure here at UT.

That sense of adventure and aspiring to new challenges is part of our nature. We love to explore and create, be it climbing a mountain, exploring at the bottom of the ocean, developing the iPhone and new apps that change lives, developing new medicines that save lives, or crafting policies that improve how we live. None of this is easy stuff, in fact it's all the more rewarding because it is challenging. That quest even finds itself in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which promises the right to "the pursuit of happiness."

I sometimes think about the contrast with folks' portrayals on Facebook, who seem more satisfied, more accomplished, and one only hears the good news. Real life has more complexity, so it's no wonder that 60% of respondents to a recent Time Magazine poll report feeling worse about themselves after spending time on social media. Perhaps, as Time suggested, if we called it the "Happiness of Pursuit," we'd all feel more enjoined in the common task of taking on new goals, tolerant of the ups and downs that arise, and satisfied that we took on the challenge.

This year we all return to the College of Natural Sciences joined in the desire to learn new things, and to support of each other as we discover new things about ourselves, and to learn how to learn. It will be challenging. It will be hard. But it will be all the more rewarding because we start here a lifelong path of curiosity and wonder about the world around us.

Best wishes for the coming week and year ahead,
Dr. Kopp

PS: Each week I will share with you academic deadlines and significant announcements about events and opportunities. Please check out the following link which includes the add/drop dates for courses, seminars, scholarships, etc.

PPS: one more bad math joke: three statisticians go to the archery range for practice. The first shoots at the target, but misses the bullseye slightly to the left. The second shoots, but is slightly to the right. The third gets ready, and says "Odds are this one's a bull's eye."

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Saturday, 08 May 2021

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